What Marketing Automation Can Do For You and 10 Companies to Get You Started

Make the most out of your marketing automation strategy by knowing what it can do for you.

In a day and age when we’re all going a hundred miles an hour and trying to complete dozens of tasks each day, finding ways to automate your repetitive day-to-day processes is important. For many marketers, that means creating emails, sifting through customer data, or trying to piece together large campaigns that just don’t seem to connect.

But the good news is, there’s already a tool out there to help make your life a little easier — and you’re likely already heard of it. That tool is marketing automation.

Now, marketing automation isn’t necessarily a new thing — but it’s something more companies are starting to see the value in and choosing to invest in.

If you’re one of those companies who are looking for a way to make the most out of your time and truly understand your customers on a more personal level, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top capabilities that come with a marketing automation platform and get you started by sharing a few platforms to consider for multiple types of automation.

Are you looking to jump ahead and get straight to the platform reviews? Here’s a quick rundown of the platforms we’ll cover:

  1. Listrak
  2. Autopilot
  3. Moosend
  4. Upland Adestra
  5. Mailjet
  6. ConvertKit
  7. iContact
  8. ClickText
  9. Texting Base
  10. Medallia Zingle

The Top Marketing Automation Capabilities

There are tons of capabilities that come with marketing automation platforms and the needs of every business is a little different. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most frequently used and sought after capabilities that can help take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Automate Your Email Marketing Efforts

Email marketing is one of the most common channels that marketers across all industries use — and it’s a great place to integrate automation.

When you consider that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $32 it’s easy to understand why so many companies are investing in their email marketing.

Finding ways to improve and streamline your email marketing efforts will allow you to see higher conversion rates, resulting in higher returns. Marketing automation is the perfect option because it allows you to easily manage large email campaigns, better understand customer needs, and adjust based on real-time data.

From creating transactional emails to improving lead nurturing campaigns, email automation is well worth the investment.

Email marketing automation will allow you to see higher revenue, improved segmentation, and nurture leads through their entire purchasing journey. Across the board, you can expect to see more effective campaigns and improved metrics. Image courtesy of Campaign Monitor.

When it comes to different ways to leverage automation in your email tactics, the possibilities are endless.

For example, you can improve personalization and provide relevant content to your customer through better data insights. Or maybe you’re looking to increase revenue through triggered emails such as abandoned cart messaging — it can all be accomplished with an automation platform.

Here are a few examples of ways to improve your email efforts through marketing automation:

  • Automate email creation and sending to get time back in your day
  • Send triggered emails based on real-time customer behaviors
  • Improve segmentation by understanding customer data
  • Understand when customers are most likely to engage with emails to optimize send times

Using a marketing automation platform to handle your email strategy will allow you to do more with your time and provide your customers with an improved experience. You won’t be disappointed when it comes to adding email automation to your marketing toolbox.

Automate Your SMS Marketing Efforts

SMS marketing, also known as text marketing, allows you to send marketing messages and campaigns directly to your customers on their mobile devices. While not as widely used as email marketing, SMS messaging is on the rise.

In fact, 54% of consumers want marketing text messages.

There are a number of benefits to using text messaging as part of your marketing strategy, such as:

  • 98% of SMS messages are opened when received by customers
  • It’s a cost-effective solution that can generate a high return on investment
  • Messages are sent to users on their mobile devices, which are always with them
  • Customers are required to opt-in, meaning they have identified that they want to hear from you
  • Flexible and can be used to promote and communicate a variety of content to customers

When compared to email marketing, the response time and open rates of SMS messages outperform by a long shot. But that opens up an opportunity to align these two tactics and create a very powerful cross channel marketing strategy.

SMS outperforms nearly every other marketing channel out there. With very impressive open, response, and conversion rates, SMS is a great tool and can help make your cross channel marketing even more successful. Image courtesy of MobileMonkey.

SMS messages are a great way to leverage an automation platform. Having the ability to easily manage your growing subscriber list, ensure opt-in protocols are met, and send messages on a large scale is just the beginning.

Here are just a few ways that an automation platform can help take your SMS marketing to the next level:

  • Save you time by sending bulk messages to larger audience groups
  • Track and manage campaign success through advanced analytical dashboards
  • Send triggered messages like welcome emails and appointment reminders to keep the customer engaged
  • Manage your subscriber list and stay compliant by knowing exactly who has opted-in and who has chosen to opt-out

Leveraging automation to advance your SMS marketing efforts will provide you with the results you want to see and send customers the most relevant content to their needs.

Improve Your Personalization Efforts

Another one of the top reasons companies invest in marketing automation is to improve their segmentation and personalization efforts.

Without personalization, your marketing strategy is very likely to fail. That’s because consumers are starting to expect that the messages they receive from the brands they follow include personalized content.

52% of consumers stated that they would switch brands if they were not getting custom messages and offerings. In addition, adding personalization to your marketing mix will benefit your company by increasing lead generation opportunities, customer retention, and more.

Incorporating personalization into your marketing efforts will provide you with a number of benefits. From building brand recognition to increasing sales through upselling opportunities — you don’t want to skip the personalization step. Image courtesy of Smart Insights.

Automation platforms make improving your segmentation and personalization tactics easier than ever before by using real-time customer data. Advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning allow you to track, understand, and predict customer behavior — and then react.

A few examples of how this might come into play include:

  • Abandoned cart trigger emails send to a customer who left an item in their shopping cart without completing a purchase
  • Appointment reminder SMS messages sent to a client the day before their scheduled appointment
  • Predictive product recommendations based on previous shopping and browsing behaviors
  • Automatic segmentation based on customer engagement and demographic ques

When it comes to improving your list segmentation and personalization tactics, it all goes back to improving the overall customer experience. The better experience your customers have with your brand, the more likely they are to continue engaging with your content and shopping on your site.

Expand Your Cross Channel Marketing Efforts

Cross channel marketing is the idea of creating one, comprehensive experience across all of your marketing channels. This can include your website, email, SMS, digital ads, social media, print, and anything else you can think of.

Cross channel marketing is important because it generally takes multiple touchpoints before a prospect becomes a customer. In fact, both purchase and engagement rates jump drastically when a campaign includes three or more marketing channels working together.

Cross channel marketing using multiple different marketing channels working together to create a full customer experience. It’s been shown that campaigns with three or more channels well out-perform single-channel campaigns. Image courtesy of ClickZ.

By implementing cross channel marketing you can expect to see the following benefits:

  • Increased engagement by providing a more personalized experience from channel to channel
  • Increased brand recognition through consistent design and voice across platforms
  • Increased return on investment by breaking down silos and knowing when and where a lead became a customer
  • Increased customer loyalty through an improved customer experience that leaves them delighted

Automation platforms can help you manage your cross channel marketing by housing all of your various channels in one central location. With everything in one place, you can easily create a campaign workflow that moves customers through their journey and provides a consistent experience — from email to mailers.

Improve Your Data Collection and Management Efforts

Understanding your customers on a deeper level all boils down to the data you have available, Marketing automation platforms are a great way to collect, manage, and understand your customer data.

Companies across all industries agree that data matters and will continue to play an important role in marketing in the future.

Most marketers you talk to will agree that data plays a very important role in their current efforts. And even more, believe that data will continue to play an important role in the marketing world in the future. Image courtesy of CMO.

There are a number of different types of data you can collect from your customers including:

  • Identity: age, sex, occupation, social media usage, and other customer properties
  • Behavioral: clicks, communication, downloads, and other actions the customer has made
  • Volunteered: opinions, motivations, history, and other information that customers may provide

All of this data allows you to better understand your customers and learn what to send to each person. But trying to collect and manage this data on your own can be a very overwhelming task, and it would be nearly impossible to keep real-time data on every single one of your customers.

But with a marketing automation platform, it’s done for you. Gone are the days of sorting through spreadsheets trying to identify what customers are frequently purchasing, engaging, or interested in your products. It’s all done for you and populated into an easy to read dashboard.

In fact, with the help of the right technology, many marketing automation platforms can now learn and predict customer actions from the data you’ve collected. This means that not only will the system collect and manage your data, but it will also enroll users into specific campaigns as their needs change — and more.

Here are a few examples of how automation platforms can use customer data and insights to provide the right content at the right time:

  • Triggered messages that are initiated based on customer behaviors and interactions
  • Retention campaigns that identify customers who are likely to become inactive and send messages to try and win them back
  • Predictive product recommendations that are formed based on customer browse and purchase history
  • Optimized sending times so that messages are only sent during times of high engagement

Having the right customer data and a tool to leverage it to its fullest potential is a very powerful thing. Once you get a glimpse of how marketing automation platforms can take your data and make something unique out of it — you’ll never look back.

Expand Your Testing, Analytics, and Reporting Efforts

Last but not least in our list of capabilities to know about marketing automation is the ability to expand your testing, analytics, and reporting.

Most marketing automation platforms come with a slew of different testing and reporting capabilities. These are generally beyond the scope of what you can do without the platform and offer new insights into how your campaigns are performing, what your customers are engaging most with, and how your subscribers engage with your content.

Here are a few examples of the different testing, analytics, and reporting your platform may provide:

  • A/B testing capabilities to make minor changes and see what performs best
  • Customized dashboards for quick and easy reporting with real-time data
  • Detailed customer engagement metrics that are broken down by each individual customer
  • Campaign reporting to understand at a higher-level what worked and what didn’t work throughout the span of the campaign

Having the ability to test and report on your campaigns will allow you to continue to improve future messages.

For example, A/B testing can help you see exactly what variations of content your customers are interested in. Maybe you learn there’s a specific tone your customer will react to or imagery that warrants more click-through — it’s all extremely valuable insight.

A/B testing allows you to make minor differences in your marketing efforts to see what customers engage with most. You can learn valuable insights that can be implemented in future campaigns to increase success rates. Image courtesy of SplitMetrics.

The more you can test and analyze your customer data, the better you can understand the wants and needs of your customers. As time goes on, you’ll find that implementing the findings from these insights will help make your campaign development process easier and more successful from the start.

10 Marketing Automation Companies to Know

Knowing that every company is different, there are tons of different ways you can use automation to your advantage. Some companies are just starting out into the world of automation and might just be looking to create automatic emails — while others may be ready to dive into advanced automation such as predictive analytics.

No matter the level of automation you’re looking for, it can often be overwhelming when it’s time to start sorting through all of the available marketing automation platforms available. That’s why we put together a shortlist for you that covers a number of different automation types.

In this section, we’ll take a look at three different types of automation platforms including:

  • All-in-one marketing automation platforms
  • Email marketing automation platforms
  • SMS marketing automation platforms

All-in-One Marketing Automation Platforms

For many companies, an all-in-one marketing automation platform is exactly what they need. All-in-one platforms allow you to do more and understand your customers on a deeper level by bringing all of your data and channels together in one place. You’ll find you can manage everything from email and SMS messages to full cross channel and customer journey campaigns.

Listrak

Listrak is an all-purpose marketing automation platform that allows you to manage all of your marketing needs from email to SMS campaigns to understanding customer data and predicting future needs.

With a platform like Listrak, you can create a comprehensive experience for your customers from your website to your print materials. Image courtesy of Listrak.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Email and SMS marketing capabilities to create, run, and manage campaigns
  • Cross channel orchestration to create a more comprehensive customer journey and use customer signals to improve personalization
  • Collect and understand customer data through both real-time and historical actions and behaviors
  • Predict future customer needs with the assistance of advanced technology including machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics

Listrak is a great marketing automation platform for companies of all sizes who are looking to improve their current process and take their marketing to the next level.

Autopilot

Autopilot is a marketing automation platform that will help you reach your customers from the moment they subscribe to your email list and help guide them through their entire purchasing journey.

Create campaigns that span across various channels and are designed to help move your customers through their purchasing journey. Image courtesy of Autopilot.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Organize and understand your customer data so that you can improve segmentation and improve your personalization efforts
  • Easily create customer journey workflows to move users from new subscribers to loyal customers while increasing your revenue dollars
  • Create cross channel marketing campaigns to reach customers on various platforms from email and SMS to social media and digital ads
  • Integrate your other platforms for a more holistic view of your customers and easily send qualified leads to your sales teams

Autopilot will help you improve your marketing automation on all fronts and provides your teams with a tool for better collaboration.

Moosend

Moosend is an all-in-one marketing platform that will provide you with everything you need to create successful marketing campaigns — from personalized emails to lead generation landing pages.

Moosend allows you to integrate all of your marketing tactics to create the best possible experience for your customers. Image courtesy of Moosend.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Automated and personalize email marketing capabilities to ensure your customers are getting the most relevant content
  • Track and analyze customer behaviors to improve future marketing campaigns based on what your customers are actually engaging with
  • Create customized landing pages designed to convert more leads and continue to build your subscriber list
  • Know exactly how your campaigns are performing with real-time analytics from high-level overviews to recipient-specific reporting

Moosend will help you better understand your customers and how your campaigns are performing with the analytics and data you need.

Email Marketing Automation Platforms

For many companies when it comes to marketing automation platforms, all they need is something to improve their email strategy. There are plenty of automation platforms out there that focus solely on email. When looking at these types of automation tools, you can expect to see email editors, list management tools, automated workflows, and much more.

Upland Adestra

Upland Adestra is an enterprise email marketing platform that makes all of your email needs easier, making your process more efficient and improving customer engagement and experience.

From email creation and list segmentation to tracking and analyzing campaign success — you can have it all. The right platform can make your email marketing easier than ever before. Image courtesy of Upland Adestra.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Create triggered campaigns to improve response rates and get customers the content they need in real-time
  • Pull dynamic content into your emails to better target each email you sent
  • Quickly create emails with their easy-to-use email editor tool
  • Utilize testing such as multivariate, campaign, and content testing to ensure you’re making the most out of your email marketing

Upland Adestra can make your email marketing more successful by allowing you to better understand your customer needs, automate your process, and improve campaign reporting.

Mailjet

Mailjet is an email automation platform designed to make your email process easier and drive results by understanding your customers and sending meaningful emails.

With the right analytical tools, you can know exactly what customers are engaging with your content and when. Image courtesy of Mailjet.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • An email building tool that creates responsive, professional-looking emails within minutes
  • Contact management capabilities that allow you to segment and continue to grow your subscriber base
  • A collaborate platform that helps your teams work together to bring your email campaigns to life
  • Advanced analytics that helps you pinpoint exactly who is engaging with your content and what’s working best

Mailjet is a great option for companies looking to better understand their customers and to make email marketing easier and more effective than ever before.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a marketing automation platform that focuses on improving your email marketing efforts and provides you with the tools you need to grow.

Know what your customers are engaging with and what content isn’t working with easy to use analytical dashboards. Image courtesy of ConvertKit.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Personalization tactics that allow you to customize content and send each customer the most relevant content to their needs
  • Email templates that make creating and sending your messages quick and easy
  • Grow your subscriber list with email sign up forms and custom landing pages to collect leads
  • Build workflow paths that send emails to your customers based on their real-time actions without any manual intervention

ConvertKit will allow you to easily automate all of your email marketing efforts, improve personalization, and know what works and what doesn’t work for your customers.

iContact

iContact is an email marketing platform that will help you create better emails, understand your customer needs, and easily integrate with your other marketing platforms.

Move your customers through their journey with automated email workflows that send follow-up messages based on customer behaviors and interactions. Image courtesy of iContact.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • An email building tool that allows you to design and create emails within minutes
  • Smart sending technology that knows when to send automated messages based on the previous subscriber engagement
  • A/B testing capabilities to ensure you’re sending the emails that will perform the best and increase conversions
  • Integrate personalization tactics to ensure your subscribers are getting the most relevant content in every message

iContact will help you improve your email marketing through subscriber management, simple email creation eating and sending, and powerful analytics and reporting.

SMS Automation Platforms

Last but not least is our SMS automation platform grouping. These platforms have a strong focus on improving your text message marketing needs and making it easier than ever to reach customers on their smartphones.

As mobile usage continues to dominate, you’ll definitely want to consider a platform that makes SMS messaging simple.

SlickText

SlickText is an SMS marketing automation platform that allows you to easily reach your customers via text message and quickly increase engagement.

Create shortcodes to grow your subscriber based and create auto-responses to ensure they’re rewarded for joining your list. Image courtesy of SlickText.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Quickly and easily schedule and send mass text messages to get the word out to large audience groups
  • Create shortcodes to grow your subscriber list and stay compliant with opt-in requirements
  • Setup auto-replies so customers automatically receive a follow-up after signing up for your messages
  • Create automated drip campaigns that send messages in a series based off of customer engagement

SlickText is a great automation platform for companies that are looking to take their SMS messaging to the next level through mass messaging, auto-replies, and drip campaigns to move customers through the funnel.

Texting Base

Texting Base is an SMS marketing automation platform that focuses on helping you send customers personalized messages and avoid spamming your contacts.

Personalizing your text messages doesn’t have to be difficult. With Texting Base you can easily identify the token you want to call out and create personalized group messages. Image courtesy of Texting Base.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Personalization to ensure your text messages feel like they’re created for each and every subscriber
  • Automate text messages including birthday, anniversary, and holiday messaging
  • Bi-directional communication that adds an extra personalized touch
  • Geo-location capabilities to allow you to reach contacts based on where they are located

Texting Base is a great tool for companies who are looking for ways to improve personalization in their mass texting strategies.

Medallia Zingle

Medallia Zingle is an SMS automation platform that allows you to easily design and execute a flawless text message marketing campaign.

What you’ll get with this platform:

  • Real-time conversations with your customer through text messaging
  • The ability to manage multiple conversations at once and automate common requests to simplify your process
  • Analytics that allow you to better understand your customers and improve future campaigns
  • Artificial intelligence technology that allows you to understand message intent and automate responses

Medallia Zingle is a great SMS automation platform for companies looking to reach customers through text message marketing and provide their customers with what they want.

Is marketing automation right for you?

Marketing automation is a great way to improve efficiency and do more with your time. You can choose to focus in on one or two specific areas of automation, you can take it to the next level with an all-in-one platform that does it all.

Whatever the case may be, now that you have a better understanding of the capabilities of marketing automation and a list of platforms to get started with — the rest is up to you.

About the Author

Niels is the founder of http://Amongtech.com. He writes about technology, gadgets, tech news, and more. Contact Niels by email at [email protected]

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